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Thread: Replacing staircase handrail

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    Default Replacing staircase handrail

    It's a typical post to post oak handrail, with several coats of paint, but rather than sanding/stripping/staining.......... I think I'll just replace it.
    I have a general idea of how to do it, but the liturature, and the websites I have found are still a little vague.
    Anybody have a good install guide, or know of a good website to look at?
    BTW, the spindles will stay in place, and the posts will stay in place. I just want to R & R the handrail.

  2. #2

    Default Handrail

    Why don't you post a picture or 2 of what you've got right now.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default handrail

    If it is glued together, which is very likely, you probably won't be able to take it apart to just replace the handrail.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    I'm sure it was glued when it was new. The hardest part would be seperating it from the spindles. Fortunately, that won't be a problem, since 90% of them are able to spin in their seats. My main concern is seperating it from the wall and the posts. Since I'm trashing it, I'm not worried about just cutting the darn thing off, close to the wall. But, I don't want to do too much damage to the wall (actually, that would be an easy fix.....) nor the posts (that would be an expensive fix!) trying to figure out how it was originally installed.
    I'll post some pics a little later so you understand what I'm doing.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    This is most of the staircase. There is 37 ft of handrail.


    There are at least 2 coats of white enamal and 2 coats of this gold, crackled stuff that my wife HAD to have.


    It took me 2 days to finish this 4 ft section, and I'm still not happy with it. I tried some "safe" stripper and it sucked. I tried some good stripper and it was just too much to bear using it inside. The fumes were horrible (even with fans and open windows. I finally used a heat gun and scraper, then sanded the heck out of it. That worked well, but it was very laborous and took a long time. Not to mention it felt like my arms had been run over by a bus.


    So I found brand new, unstained Oak handrail at the blue box store for $36 for an 8 ft section. It's my handrail exactly. It has become a no-brainer now...
    Last edited by Pewterpower; 04-26-2007 at 08:42 AM.

  6. #6

    Default

    I would cut the handrail at both ends leaving a "stub" of a few inches. Then I would use a rubber mallet to separate the middle section from the spindles.

    Next, I would put a big channel locks on the remaining stubs and try to work them out of the groove. If that doesn't work, you'll have to cut the ends flush and use a router to remove the remaining rail from the grooves. Or, you could use a Dremel with a little cutoff wheel to trace around the stubs and then pull them out.
    Last edited by Verdeboy; 04-26-2007 at 09:38 AM.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    The channel locks is a good idea. Also, I just found some spots underneath the handrail, near the ends, where it looks like bolt holes were filled in, and then painted over. I'm gonna try to drill that out and see if there is a bolt in there.
    It sure would be nice if it was a bolt! Then all I would have to do is trim the glue. That's where your channel locks would work!

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member Pewterpower's Avatar
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    Default Unbelievable........

    I got the first section off, and was quite suprised to learn how my staircase is attached.

    STAPLES!!!!!

    I swear to God, everytime I open something up in this house, I get a wicked lesson in the art of the shortcut.

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